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Compact Cosmos

53 52 ULTIMATEREALITY the kaleidoscopic playpen With each passing second our view of the universe grows slightly wider,yet we still have little idea of how big it is,whether it has an edge,or what molds the structures we see. There is also the awesome possibility that ours may be one of an infinitude, with quite a few more dimensions than expected. Are we alone,and if not,who and what might our neighbors be Is a homely planet necessary,or can evolution act in more extreme niches On the smallest scales,the distinction between matter and energy blurs,leaving seemingly solid reality a phantasm woven from mainly nothing. Some subatomic systems share a curious entanglement even if widely separated by space or time. Could this be the beginnings of consciousness Maybe life is part of a greater series of interconnections, perhaps itself subtlely guided by an underlying panpsychic awareness. Stranger still, we may be just scintillating illusions, extrapolated from deeper realities. Akin to photographic holograms that encode threedimensional pictures onto flat film, our universe may arise from interference patterns on a hyperspatial boundary,interpreted by its enraptured inhabitants as a solid entity. Humanity has only just peeped out from beneath its earthly blindfold and taken the first, stumbling steps offworld onto a marvellous odyssey. As a species we are facing many challenges,not least the ones we have created,yet our very atoms were born in the stars. One day perhaps we might return to visit.
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